Sega, the publisher of the extremely popular Football Manager series, is trying its hand in baseball early next year with MLB Manager Online, fully licensed by Major League Baseball and its players association. A closed beta will begin Jan. 7.
The free-to-play browser-based game will be launched in North America, Japan and South Korea, and feature all 30 current U.S. major league clubs, plus 900 actual active players. Participants will be competing to build championship-caliber clubs with the goal of representing their nation in a "World Champions Tournament" of baseball.
Visit this link to apply for participation in the closed beta.
"Partnering with Sega to bring MLB Manager Online to baseball fans is an exciting prospect. SEGA has been successful in Europe with their Football Manager title and we hope to carry that success over to MLB Manager Online here with a solid and entertaining product." Mike Amin, director of interactive games, Internet and business partnerships with the Major League Baseball Players Association, said in a statement.
The game is scheduled for a full launch in March in the U.S., Canada, Japan and South Korea.
Sports management sims have found that video game success isn't impossible, but can be inscrutable, especially among North American gamers. Football Manager is the most notorious success of a licensed management simulation, with a following that borders on cultish. Ditto for Out Of The Park Baseball, though it lacks any association with MLB.
Yet licensed titles like NFL Head Coach and MLB Front Office Manager have been disappointments, possibly because a console audience doesn't prefer the genre. Both series have been discontinued.